Mondo Bizarro Feb 20 2010
FREE ENTERPRISE
Daze of future passed.

National Free Press, published February 1967. This is as cheap as it gets, folks. There are exactly zero actual stories in here. The highlight is a column by the crackpot psychic The Great Criswell, aka The Amazing Criswell. Criswell was pretty famous in the 60s, and appeared on The Jack Paar Show, as well as others. Our favorite predictions of his are the complete destruction of Denver by a mysterious jelly, the destruction of London by a meteor, and the relocation of the U.S. capital from Washington, D.C., to Kansas. Criswell’s book, entitled Criswell Predicts from Now to the Year 2000, boasts that 87% of his predictions have come true. We can only evaluate the ones in the Free Press, and they are as follows:

Criswell: I predict that the next generation breakfast food will have a built in hangover cure. Reality: The only hangover cure we know of is more booze, and there aren’t any alcoholic breakfast foods yet—we think.

Criswell: I predict that you will be able to camp out next summer in a clear plastic bubble that you inflate yourself and which protects you from all the elements. Reality: You know how cafés have snacks on the counter under a glass dome? Now imagine seeing that, but being a grizzly bear.
 
Criswell: I predict that a future President of the United States will be a hopeless alcoholic. Reality: Just the opposite—the voters must have been hopelessly drunk to put some of these guys into office.
 
Criswell: I predict that after 1978 your marriage license will have to be renewed each year. Reality: Impossible, because the following scene would play out in millions of households: “Sorry dear, I totally spaced going. Guess we’re divorced now. Let me microwave a chimichanga real quick, then I’ll help you with your suitcases.” 

Clearly, 87% percent of Criswell’s predictions did not come true in our little test. But you have to give him credit—he was bold. What else can you say about a guy who once claimed the world would succumb to mass cannibalism? But here’s one prediction that will definitely come true: We will have more on The (not so) Great Criswell down the line.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 24
1954—Communist Party Outlawed
In the U.S., during the height of the Red Scare, President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act into law. The new legislation bans the American Communist Party, and prohibits people deemed to be communists from serving as officials in labor organizations.
1968—France Explodes Nuke
France tests a two-stage nuclear weapon, codenamed Canopus, on Fangataufa, French Polynesia.
August 23
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
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